Emily Ratajkowski came under fire on social media this week for sharing an Instagram post tying the existence of hair to beauty and femininity.
In a seemingly innocuous post announcing her partnership with Kératase Paris, a luxury hair product company, the model and actress offended a number of her followers with her caption.
“Hair is a fundamental part of beauty, femininity, and identity,” she wrote. “So excited to announce that I am the new face of @kerastase_official!”
The notion that the existence of hair equates with beauty and identity did not go over well with many people, especially those struggling with alopecia, hair loss, or cancer. People took to the comments section in droves calling out the insensitive wording of the ad.
“Women shouldn’t have to have hair to be feminine or beautiful,” one user wrote.
“I have trouble finding confidence without my hair and this definitely made it worse.”
“I have cancer. So many bald women are more beautiful..”
Of course, fans came forward in equal measure defending Ratajkowski, calling her “only human,” and slamming others for “overreacting.” While she did not speak out about the controversy directly, Ratajkowski did change the caption to read: “So excited to announce that I am the new face of @kerastase_official ! Welcome good hair days!”
For its part, Kératase addressed the negative comments (a dialogue which continued on their social media feeds) on their Instagram account.
“We are deeply sorry about that, we didn’t want to cause any harm to anyone with the caption,” the brand wrote.
“Of course beauty is not defined by your hair, beauty is something more spiritual, beauty is an attitude coming from inside each of us. Our new muse, Emily, thinks that her hair is a way to express herself. As she said, ‘Everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own way’; and we agree. We apologize for the misunderstanding of our previous caption because it seems like we were making a one-way statement, forgetting the rest of the multiple variations of beauty. We honestly tell you we’re very sorry and thanks for your testimony because through it we are learning everyday.”
In an interview earlier this week, Ratajkowski argued that women shouldn’t feel shame in caring how their hair looks.
“Ultimately, feeling good about yourself is good for your life and who you are,” she told Elle. “So if having the best hair you can have means you feel better about your day, then go get that hair. And don’t feel guilty about it!”